About FISH

Phone  775-882-FISH (3474)

Contact FISH Online
FISH is a NV non-profit established in May 1979, to help those in need.  FISH does not rely on the government for funding. 98% of our multi-million dollar budget is funded through the local community via donations and grants, saving millions of dollars in taxes for the communities that we serve.

We have found that by creating a stable living environment, and providing nutritious meals our clients find a renewed hope.  With hope, clients can more accurately assess their behaviors and skills, and develop a willingness to change behaviors and improve their skills.  Clients create goals and FISH holds them accountable. As clients achieve small goals, we work on bigger goals, like developing skills to move from minimum wage jobs to meaningful careers. 

We summarize our services using our name, FISH provides Food, Instruction, Shelter, and Health care.  FISH has locations in Carson, Douglas and Lyon counties, where we provide “a hand-up, not a hand-out”.  During FY 20'-21', FISH served 2,597 Households of which 2,007 were under the federal poverty level.  We provided 248,585 meals between our food banks and dining room, and 12,669 nights of shelter at our three emergency shelters.

FISH Emergency Referral Services Program (also known as Friends in Service Helping) is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in May 1979 in direct response to the growing numbers of homeless and hungry residents in the Carson City community. Prior to the start of FISH, several organizations in Carson City had each been offering services to needy individuals and families. As the community need grew, these organizations decided to band together and work under one name. These visionary leaders and a dedicated VISTA volunteer, Lea Giffin, founded FISH. While FISH began as a small food closet, it soon began offering shelter services in Carson City when the organization merged with Friends of Citizens Under Stress (FOCUS). After the tragic death of a homeless man during a cold winter night, FOCUS renovated a deserted building in the Stewart Indian School complex and opened rural Nevada’s first homeless shelter; FOCUS House. FISH and FOCUS united in the early 1980’s to collaboratively serve the needs of the homeless and hungry in the community. FISH continues to operate FOCUS House for men along with the Wylie House for women and families. These are the only year-round, publicly accessible emergency shelters in Northern Nevada outside of Reno. Today, FISH has grown to become rural Nevada’s largest and most complete social services program. Our financial support continues to be community focused with only minor support from the federal government.  As the needs of our community have grown, so has our mission.  As we discover unmet needs in our community, we expand our service, or support other organizations that can fill the gap. FISH has met the United Way Standards of Excellence every year since that designation was created. FISH was named Organization of the Year in Carson City in 1992 and 2003-2009 and FISH received the prestigious US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Best Practices Award in 2000. FISH is governed by a board of directors drawn from community leaders who have shown special interest in the plight of those in need in their community. Twenty-seven staff members and over 230 volunteers work side-by-side to meet the challenges of the mission of FISH every day. Our volunteers come from every walk of life and include professionals, retirees, and students. Together, they are the heroes who serve our community.

Administration and Client Services

138 E. Long Street
Carson City, NV 89706
775-882-FISH (3474)
Client Services
Monday - Friday
9am-12pm / 1pm-5pm
Dining Hall
Mon-Sat: 3pm-5:30pm
Sun: 3pm-5pm
Food Bank
Monday - Friday
9am-12pm / 1pm-5pm
The Ross Medical Clinic
By Appointment Only

Ranchos Family Service Center

921 Mitch Drive
Gardnerville, NV 89460
Client Services
Monday -  10am - 5pm
Tuesday - 10am - 5pm
Wednesday - 10am - 5pm
Thursday - 10am - 6pm
Friday - 10am - 5pm

FY2020 By The Numbers

  • 4,320 People
  • 2,597 Households
  • 224 Veterans
  • 761 Disabled
  • 1,096 Children
  • 704 Seniors
  • 753 New Families

The above numbers are UNDUPLICATED numbers, meaning even if a person came in many times last year, they were only counted once for these statistics.

  • 232,893 Food Bank Meals
  • 15,692 Dining Room Meals
  • 1,700 Holiday Meals
  • 12,669 Nights of Shelter
  • 2,465 Thrift Store Vouchers
  • 190 Job & Service Referrals
  • 20,841 Showers
  • 2,773 Laundry
  • 275 Winter Coats
  • 360 Medical Patients
  • 160 Prescriptions

FOCUS, Wylie, and Family Emergency Shelters made 32 emergency beds available year round. 

FISH served as the agent for the NVEnergy Special Assistance Fund for Energy grant program, the Southwest Gas Utility Assistance program, and the Water In Motion water bill assistance program. In FY2020, FISH administered 404 grants for utility payments.

FISH continued to use our “community database”, FISH Application for Client Services, so local nonprofits and government agencies can jointly track and coordinate services for shared clients. This database improves overall services, reduces duplication of effort, and helps to identify “super utilizers” who over-use available community resources. We find that if our staff has to work harder than the client, the client will not succeed. So we challenge them to take an active role toward self-sufficiency.

Our Transitional Housing Program is designed to help families (who work a minimum of 40 hours per week and have kids under the age of 18) to get stabilized.  FISH offers housing with low rent and gives these families 24 months to achieve a stable financial path.  It's the next step to no longer needing assistance.

Jim Peckham
Jim Peckham (Executive Director)

After nearly 25 years working for corporations, Jim began serving as Executive Director of FISH in 2009. Jim has experience rebuilding non-profits so they are self-sustaining and valued by the local community. He has focused on developing collaborative relationships to help improve and enhance the non-profits that he works with. Jim has a Master's Degree from Michigan State University and is a member of the local Pastor's Association and Rotary Club.

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Renee Sweeney (Client Services Manager)

Renee, who has her Masters in Human Services, joined FISH as Client Services Manager in November 2020. She comes from a long background in working with clients, most recently as an Advocate for domestic violence victims in the Washoe Tribe. Her passion for vulnerable populations and client services empowers her to make a difference in our community.

Gillian Murdock (Food Distribution, Volunteers, and Events Manager)

Gillian Murdock joined FISH in January 2019 as the Manager of Food Distribution, Volunteers, and Events. She oversees the operation of the Food Bank and Family Dining Room, organizes our amazing volunteers, and manages the event coordination for FISH. In her downtime, Gillian loves to spend time with her family, compete in archery tournaments, and explore the outdoors with her husband and new puppy.

Jimbo Cox (Dining Room Manager)

Jim has worked in a number of hotels and restaurants around the West and Colorado and came to settle in the Tahoe/Carson City area in 1979. He enjoys his profession and the food industry. On his off time he enjoys camping, reading, hiking and, of course, cooking.

John Fecanin (Shelter Manager)

John manages FISH's three homeless shelters. He has been with FISH since 2011 and has lived in Carson City since 2000. In his free time he enjoys fishing, sports, and attending to church.

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Augustine "Augie" Gallegos (Carson Thrift Store Manager)

Fish Logo
Champ (Minden Thrift Store Manager)

Champ joined FISH in 2019.

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Megan McKeon (Marketing Specialist)

Megan joined the FISH team in August of 2020. Originally from Los Angeles, she graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a B.A in Sociology. Megan loves to explore Northern Nevada, golf, hike, and do yoga in her free time.

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Alexandria Franklin (Receptionist)

Alex joined FISH in August 2021. She has a passion for helping those without a voice including training and working with canines!

Kim Cash
Kim Cash (Accountant)

Lover of all things motorcycle. And rock 'n' roll. And football. And the great outdoors: hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking.

Lorena (Client Ally)

Lorena joined FISH in August 2018 as a social work intern from the University of Nevada Reno. After completing her Bachelors of Social Work in May 2019 she joined the FISH team part time to work with the individuals in our homeless shelters, and continued her education to get her masters. In May 2020, she graduated with her Master of Social Work from the University of Nevada Reno and is now a full-time support to those in our homeless shelter and transitional living.

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Lane Meyer (Operations)

Lane, a Winnemucca native, joined FISH with over 15 years of management experience in Northern Nevada. With an MBA from UNR, he brings a unique organizational and strategic skillset to help in all of FISH's departments. Lane loves being with his kids on their homestead and getting outside whenever possible.

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Brian Lucas (Mound House Thrift Store Manager)

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Brad Harris (Treasurer)
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